Opinion Letter No. 04-14
August 27, 2004
Briefing on Contested Cases and Executive Session to Protect Privacy
Even under a narrow reading of the term “adjudicatory
functions,” a staff briefing for a board regarding pending
contested cases before that board is an adjudicatory function exercised
by that board and thus not subject to the Sunshine Law.
A board may not hold an executive meeting to receive
information about an alleged violator’s personal problems
in confidence. When a board is charged with taking action regarding
violations of state law, if an alleged violator wishes to offer
information about personal problems as a defense or mitigating factor
for the alleged violation, then the public has a strong interest
in knowing the information that was presented to the board. It is
OIP’s opinion that the privacy provision of the Hawaii Constitution
does not require a board to keep such information confidential.